(MENAFN - Arab News) This year an estimated 13,800 Chinese pilgrims from 26 different provinces in China will perform Haj. It's the largest number of Chinese pilgrims to perform Haj, said Ibrahim Hong Changyou, head of the Chinese Haj delegation in a press conference at the Chinese consulate yesterday.
China has a population of more than 20 million Muslims, with almost 35,000 mosques and 40,000 imams.
"I am very happy to lead the Chinese Muslim Haj delegation once again this year. The Chinese government is concerned about educating its Muslim (citizens) about the Haj regulations set by the Saudi government," said Changyou.
He also said that almost 10,000 Chinese pilgrims have already arrived in the Kingdom and the restwill arrive by Friday on nine special Haj flights. Almost 7,000 Chinese pilgrims are in Makkah and 3,000 are in Madinah, where they will stay for five days before arriving in Makkah. The last flight of Chinese pilgrims will return them to China on Nov. 22.
"King Abdullah's recent expansion project in Madinah Al-Manuwra shows his care for Muslims all over the world. May Allah reward him," said Changyou.
Changyou also thanked the Saudi government for their support and preparations of haj this year.
"During Haj, we will conduct awareness sessions in Makkah, and we will answer the queries of Chinese pilgrims. For that we brought 200 volunteers on Haj mission from which 50 are doctors and paramedics, the mission will have its own imams who will guide the pilgrims during the Haj," Changyou said.
Changyou said the Chinese Islamic Association took responsibility to accommodate all pilgrims. Helpers are divided into 400 sub leaders, 200 instructors, three to five team doctors will be there to help the pilgrims to make their Haj easy. The Islamic Chinese Association every year sends 70 Mutawif and one Imam for every 200 pilgrims.
"Chinese pilgrims enjoy the full support of their government, which helps various Islamic associations in the country to organize Haj," he said.
The country's basic policy of Haj is in the interest of the unity of the Muslim masses, in favor of the development of the economy in areas inhabited by Muslims and the progress of society in the interests of safeguarding its stability and the national unity.
Various Islamic civil associations and other such groups have been established in each of the provinces and cities of China.
These Islamic organizations are helping the government to implement the policy of freedom of religion and have made many efforts for the development of Islam in China.
"Islamic cultural exhibition took place two years ago in Indonesia, last year in Singapore and this year in Turkey, where plenty of Qur'ans and books were distributed to satisfy the Muslims," said Changyou.
The number of Chinese pilgrims are increasing every year. In 2004, 4,000 arrived for Haj and in 2006 there were 8,000 pilgrims. The number jumped in 2010 to more than 13,500 Chinese pilgrims came to perform Haj.
According to the Chinese Haj mission, officials put all their attention on pilgrims health, accommodation and transportation of the pilgrims.
To facilitate the Chinese pilgrims with the best, their accommodation have been arranged within one kilometer of the area from Haram, which is within walking distance to the Holy Mosque. All the Chinese pilgrims are accommodated in one sector.